How do you define success? For me, all I’ve ever wanted was enough money to cover my expenses so I could live in a comfy home, drive a well-oiled machine, travel, and occasionally eat out without stressing about the price. For all intents and purposes, I’ve reached this platform so why reach higher? Sure one can always upgrade their homes, cars, experiences, and meals but is it really that much sweeter?
As I write this, I notice myself feeling a little concerned about how I may be coming across, are you thinking I’m lazy? Ungrateful? Unwilling to contribute to society? Actually, I think my desire to consume less allows me to participate more, which in turn builds community.
Maybe I’m just different, maybe it’s because I have a lot of Early Retired friends who are really bad influences, but I just can’t wait to be retired again.
As you may know, I took a leave of absence from the working world for two years, after my mother passed away in 2014. As much as I had been preparing and working towards that epic goal of Financial Independence by 30, at the time, my break came more out of necessity than being completely prepared.
After her passing, I fell into a deep well of grief that was incapacitating, unpredictable, and longer lasting than I had hoped. I still get hit with pangs of grief, on occasion almost 3 years later. What I found on the other side was that I really loved all the newfound free time I had. I didn’t 100% retire, since I had a few airbnbs running and did a couple of massages a week, but I was “working” maybe 5-8hrs/week which was enough to fulfill my desire for “something to do” / productivity and I had a ton of space to heal, explore, and grow.
During this time I learned that since I wasn’t really working, I was no longer able to derive meaning from that space and needed to look for it elsewhere; I found it in relationships. I began to dedicate myself to being available for my large community of friends worldwide. Anytime someone requested my time, I would honor the request, whether in person or on the phone. I was volunteering my shoulder to cry on, to help people move, clean out their closets and organize their lives. It felt so fun to be available and to connect. I realized that time was the most valuable asset we have and it saddened me to see so many, readily give it away for money, recognition, and promises of future payoffs.
Not only was I loving all the space for connection with others, I was also reveling in all the time I had for myself. I picked up acrobatic yoga, Capoeira. a Brazilian martial art encompassing complex movements/sequences, learning to play instruments, and singing in a new language. I was stretching and challenging myself physically, emotionally, spiritually, and it was fantastic.
During my “retired” period, I knew I wanted to expand my investment holdings and Airbnbs, so I asked the universe for opportunities to present themselves, and it did. 10 months after my mothers passing I bought my first pure rental property (I owned the condo I lived in and rented part-time), then in the span of 4 months I bought 2 more (with partners). Surprisingly, after purchase & set up, they only incrementally added to my workload, maybe an hour a week. I had a simple life, all my bases were covered, I was still able to spend nearly 5 months out traveling and yet it was nothing extravagant. I think I could have been happy with that but life had other plans for me.
Last July, I started meditating, visualizing and manifesting more. I started to dream of something bigger and wondered what was possible. The opportunities started flowing in. I began to manage other peoples homes and out of nowhere connections and clients came pouring in. At the time, I was spending a lot of time with a very ambitious friend who was building his own successful consulting/therapy practice. He got in my ear about becoming more visible, utilizing social media, and seeing what I could make of myself. He saw the potential in my creativity and experience and helped push me along. I am forever grateful to him for listening to all my whining along the way.
Although I still don’t think I needed to prove anything or build this business to where it is today. It is incredibly satisfying to see a number of people I am able to share with and support at this stage. In just one year, I was able to catapulte the business from making $4-6K/ month to a whopping 18K+ last month.
When I started along on my friend's program, I overwhelmed myself with trying to match his pace. I was wasting so much energy psyching myself out with overthinking and procrastination. I ramped up to working 10 hour days and began to feel more disconnected. It was a rough transition. Luckily, I fell into a groove once he reminded me that I work for myself and set my own schedule/deadlines. I figured out a way to outsource and automate most of my business tasks to regain time for myself. The work spurt (which feels like much longer than a couple of months) burnt me out to the point of wanting to take an indefinite break which I am currently trying to define.
What I have come to realize is that I "quality of life" is one of my primary values and for me, 8-10hr work days don’t work. I am much more aligned with 3-4hrs, 2-4days a week. While I don’t think I could ever do nothing, I am working towards taking myself out of the picture in my business. This looks like hiring and training wonderful, self-sufficient people to run it who will only need my input occasionally, allowing me to pursue more creative outlets.
In rare, low moments in my life, I see what other people around me are developing and releasing and take note of how much more successful, accomplished, wealthy, famous, (add word here)... I could be if I wanted to work harder, but I simply don’t. Hanging in the park with a friend, going for a bike ride, hiking, cooking a tasty meal; all take priority over any non-deadlined tasks.
So I apologize if I don’t blog as often as you would like. I’d like to say it will improve in the future as I am hoping to dedicate more time to writing for fun, but I can’t promise it. The next time you are perusing the site for new content, maybe you can enjoy the thought that I am out in the world living and enjoying my life to the fullest ( and maybe check out my Instagram instead). I mean, I can’t just talk the talk, I have to go live the life, don’t I?